Image: View of Ariel René Jackson’s installation Color Composition, 2018, soil, latex balloons, spray paint, string, and wire, 8 by 7 by 20 feet, at the Museum of Human Achievement, Austin. Photo Hiram Mojica.
For the February print issue of Art in America, I got to write a First Look on Austin-based artist Ariel René Jackson. Readers and listeners of Humor and the Abject will remember Ariel from episode 58 of the podcast about a year ago. It’s been exciting to watch Ariel’s work evolve over the years—we first met when she was a student at the Cooper Union. Following that, I was thrilled when Ariel applied, and was accepted (obviously), to the 2015 Summer Emerging Artist Residency Program at the Bruce High Quality Foundation University that I was co-managing with Andrea Arrubla. Over the course of three months, we watched her develop further her performance persona, Confuserella, and expand her research about the blues through myriad media.
For the last couple of years, Ariel has been pursuing her MFA at the University of Texas at Austin, shifting her research towards the history of African American farming—particularly her own family’s farm—and the racist policies that have decimated that economy. Around the time that we recorded the podcast episode, Ariel had been invited to create a site-specific installation work, Color Composition, at the Museum of Human Achievement in East Austin through the Cage Match Project, an outdoor series organized by Ryan Hawk. The piece in Art in America focuses primarily on that particular installation piece.
They’ve now put the previously-print-only article online, and I encourage you to read it here:
And, if you missed the podcast episode the first time around, give it a listen to learn more about the critical frameworks she employs in her research and the studio, and her life in general.